Courses and Events
In-depth Qualitative Survey: Mass Observation
University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton
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This one day workshop will examine methods and analysis of in depth qualitative survey, using data collected by Mass Observation as a practical case study. Attendees will use examples from the Mass Observation Archive to reflect on how in depth qualitative data might be used in their research, thinking through the following areas: what is in depth qualitative survey and what methods can be used to collect data? What kinds of data can it produce and how can these be analysed?
Mass Observation was founded in 1937 to undertake a survey of everyday life in Britain. Using both ethnographic and life writing methods, Mass Observation collected diaries, observational reports, questionnaire responses and ephemera to record daily life until the mid-1950s. In 1981, the project was started again, using a volunteer panel of writers to respond to in depth questionnaires reflecting everyday life in late 20th, early 21st Century UK. The project works with academics from various disciplines to gather data which forms part of the Mass Observation Archive housed at the University of Sussex at The Keep.
At the end of this module you should be able to:
Lindsey, R. Bullock, S. 2014 A sociologist’s field notes to the Mass Observation Archive: a consideration of the challenges of ‘re-using’ Mass Observation data in a longitudinal mixed-methods study. In Sociological Research Online 19(3), 8
Madge, C. & Harrisson, T.H. 1937. Mass Observation London: Frederick Muller Ltd.
Pollen, A. 2013. Research methodology in Mass Observation past and present: ‘scientifically, about as valuable as a chimpanzee’s tea party at the zoo’? In History Workshop Journal 75, p213-235
Sheridan, D. 1996 “Damned anecdotes and dangerous confabulations” Mass Observation as life history. Mass Observation Occasional Paper No. 7
Summerfield, P. 1985 Mass-Observation: Social Research or Social Movement? In Journal of Contemporary History 20: 439 (available via electronic library)
Mass Observation website available at: www.massobs.org.uk/index.htm
University of Sussex (DTC Course)
Advanced (specialised prior knowledge)
External student from DTP partner universities (City, UEA, Essex, Goldsmiths, Kent, Reading, Roehampton, Royal Holloway, Surrey) - £10 External student all other institutions - £30 External faculty/other staff member - £100
Website and registration
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